In this article, I share some suggestions to help people awaken. You may first want to read about my awakening and an explanation of what it is.
The following visualization technique is brought to you by Dr. Marcia Emery: Before you read on, pretend your doubts and beliefs are a coat you’re wearing. Let’s temporarily suspend those beliefs by taking the coat off and placing it on the imaginary coat rack for now. It will still be there at the end in case you want to wear it again. Or you may just want to leave the coat behind, as you choose to shatter or make obsolete those beliefs through having new direct experiences.
Please don’t think this is New Age gobbledygook or the work of the devil, because you may miss out on something special, the real you! That condemnation, negativity, doubt, and judgment is your ego talking which is afraid of losing control, and you’ve listened to it for far too long. It’s all a form of resistance. Weigh experiences on their own merit, and not on what you think. I’m not asking you to believe what I write. Only to have an open mind and the courage to try some of the things listed below so you will have an experience for yourself. An experience no matter how subtle may just have a profound impact on your life, and how you choose to see the world from here on out.
Exercises to have you experience the real you
Below are a few techniques to try and you can see which one appeals to you. You don’t have to do them all, but you can if you like. Hopefully one will be more easy for you to do than another.
The following are from Frank Kinslow’s work:
1) Have someone ask you the following questions or record them and play them back to yourself while sitting relaxed with no distractions. Let some time pass in between each question. The object of this not to necessarily come up with answers to the questions, but rather to notice what happens and how you feel.
Where will my next thought come from?
What will my next thought look like?
What will my next thought sound like?
What will my next thought taste like?
What will my next thought smell like?
What will my next thought feel like?
Yes, the last question listed is correct. How did you feel immediately after doing that exercise? Did you notice that your mind stopped thinking? Did you feel relaxed?
2) Place your forefinger from your left hand on your left leg. Focus your attention on what you feel underneath your forefinger. Is it hot or cold, do you feel your skin or fabric, is there any other sensations? Observe for a little while. Keep your left forefinger as-is but now do the same thing with your right forefinger by placing it on your right leg. Observe that for a little while. After that focus on the sensations you feel underneath both forefingers at the same time. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to focusing on both forefingers for awhile. How do you feel afterwards?
3) While sitting comfortably in a quiet place, focus your attention on the thoughts you have. Do not try and stop them, simply watch them come and go. Don’t latch on to any thought. If you get caught up in a thought, don’t get mad at yourself and just go back to observing your thoughts again. After a while do you notice that you have less thoughts or they stop altogether? How do you feel?
4) What is the biggest thing in the universe? The answer is space! Spend some time gently focusing on the space that’s all around you. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to focusing on the space/air. How do you feel afterwards?
The following exercise is for people that have a very active mind or for the more advanced stage:
Without trying too hard or straining simply focus your attention on your feet for a few seconds, then move your focus to your knees, then hands, then shoulders. Most will find this easy to do, while others may find focusing on two things at the same time a bit more difficult. But I’m sure that you would agree that you were able to hold focus to some degree. The thing is, I never had to instruct you on how to focus. It came naturally to you. You brought your awareness to each of those body parts automatically. That’s how simple it is to bring your focus, or more accurately, your awareness to something. Now do it again, but this time we are going to try to keep the focus on more things at the same time. Bring your awareness to your feet for a little while, then as you bring your awareness to your knees, still keep your awareness on your feet as well. As you bring your awareness to your hands, try to keep your awareness on your feet and knees too. The same goes when you move your awareness to your shoulders. See if you can try to keep your awareness on your feet, knees, hands, and shoulders all at the same time. Make sure you are doing this with a gentle and easy focus, and not the hard tight determined type of focus. This is difficult to accomplish and at some point, the mind will want to give up trying. Let it. What is it that takes over after the mind has given up? How do you feel?
After completing any of those exercises, did you experience a gap of no thinking, even if it was for a fraction of a second? After you experience a gap of no thinking, a curious question arises, who or what notices that there is a quiet mental gap of no thought? Considering there was no thought going on, how can one be aware that there was no thought? As Gina Lake says, who would you be without your thoughts?
Experiencing a quiet no thought moment is a great start. What is in that gap of no thought?
When I first did Frank Kinslow’s exercise # 1 listed above, the first question alone produced a quiet gap in my thinking. Then by the end of the questions, I was feeling mentally quiet and relaxed. Later I realized that relaxation came with a profound sense of peace. That peace has other qualities too. It is easy to overlook because we take it for granted and the mind doesn’t think it is anything special. It’s so natural and simple to achieve that state of being once you have experienced it because that’s naturally who we are. You can experience the real you within that gap of no thought.
Imagine a cork represents our ego. When we’re focused on thoughts and believe them, the ego pulls us down underwater and is like trying to hold a cork underwater. It takes time and energy to keep that cork submerged. We can’t breathe, it’s debilitating, we feel contracted and cut off from everything. We usually cannot see anything past our ego. It’s resistance to being and accepting the moment. When we focus away from thoughts and on the moment at hand it is freeing. Just like when the cork is released and rises to the surface, we can breathe again, feel expansive, and our natural essence automatically shines through. Except we have lost touch with what that is so that when it appears in a subtle way, the mind wants to dismiss it as not being important. The essence of who we are is love, peace, stillness, wholeness, harmony, grace, joy, and all the other good virtues you can name. Pay attention to the moment and feel the presence of who you are.
Gina Lake says to remind yourself to be in the present throughout the day by asking what am I focused on? When we’re recalling a memory (past) or thinking about something yet to happen (future), then we are no longer in the present. At that point, the egoic mind has taken over. Whenever we realize this, then it’s good news because we’re automatically back in the present.
What grabs us out of the present moment? It’s a thought that we tend to believe. All sorts of thoughts might arise and one may hook us (pay attention to) because there’s some part of us that believes that thought. To heal and progress, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Always seek the ultimate truth.
It may be hard at first to stay in the present moment and not pay attention to thoughts, but it gets easier (exponentially). After you have more and more experiences of your true self, you will be grounded in the foundation of who you truly are. Rest knowing that the core of you is benevolent with all good virtues. How do I know this? Apart from experiencing that first hand, just look around you in the world. Yes there is fighting and strife, however, there is also kindness and people helping each other. If we were not benevolent the world would be a completely a different hostile place with no sense of order at all. So, rest assured that you are always the light that shines through the darkness.
The secret is not to resist anything in the moment, because everything is you. Resisting anything is rejecting yourself.